There was a student demonstration today, protesting the EU's desire to privatize education. We all met at one of the university plazas and waited until we had enough people. On the way there I felt my weak American heart sink at the sight of 25 police vans waiting outside the university. When we marched out of there we only got a few hundred feet into the city before we were stopped. The police were saying that the permitted student march could not proceed because there were people against the G8 amongst the crowd.
Eventually the let us go but we had to change our route. Soon the black clad police faded into green clad riot police with their cute little white helmets. They boxed us in completely all the way into the inner city. We passed through big commercial areas, a van with a diesel generator, speakers and mixing board spewing out energy all the while.
When we got to the inner city, where most of the tourists and monied types and big banks and shopping centers are, we found barricades and water cannons all around us. The green riot police joined up with the olive(?) colored police with shields and together they stopped us in the middle of a busy shopping area. After they let us continue we found water cannons and riot tanks blocking every side street we might want to head down.
Two people were arrested for no reason. Otherwise it was calm.
However, it revealed, to me at least, what we are going to be up against on Monday. They dont want an incident downtown where all the nice, decent people will be shopping. The German media reported that there will be snipers on the rooftops when the EU ASEM summit takes place in order to "protect the delegates". I'll try and get people out here to send video and their accounts to the US.
PS. Last night's riot, from the accounts I have heard, was unprovoked. Not that it really matters. A blast of water to the face is still a blast of water to the face.
Until next time,